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How To Break In Your Leather Holster

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 8:26
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Aaron Spuler is a firearms enthusiast and recreational shooter. Follow more or his work at The Weapon Blog

Some folks are perfectly happy with a Nylon holster that is affordable, reasonably durable and comfortable. And that is fine. However some folks want a holster that is not just a functional accessory, but some something that looks good, feels good and keeps their weapon secure too.

Why bother with leather holsters?
Leather holsters are nice looking, feels good and are made from materials that will last a really long time if looked after. Not to mention that wonderful smell a brand new holster has! Of course there are some downsides too. Where Nylon and Kydex holsters are often light and easy to maintain, leather holsters are a little heavier and need a little more love and care than the other holster types usually do. Also, well made leather holsters are generally more expensive than other holsters, but this is due to the skilled craftsmanship and quality materials that goes into making a solid leather holster.

Leather is more moldable, so it provides a more snug fit than what Nylon holster will have. The only problem is that to get to that point, a leather holster needs to be broken in to provide that snug fit that is not too tight.

How to break in a leather holster
Before we jump into the process of breaking in a leather holster, there are some things that need to be done in preparation.


Safety first
As part of the process, you are going to be using the gun that you will be keeping in the particular holster. So before you start, make sure the gun is not loaded (don’t forget any bullets in the chamber!) and the safety is on.

Check the inside of your new holster
Some holster do have screws/rivets/metal pieces that stick out on the inside of the holster. Those bits can cause some ugly scratches to your gun. A quick fix is to use some tape over the pieces of metal.

Now we can start
Now that you have done the preparation, you can start to look at breaking in the leather holster. There are two basic techniques that you can follow to break in a holster, namely the stretching technique and the plastic bag technique.

The first technique is to simply insert and take your gun out of the holster repeatedly to stretch the holster. This does take some time and patience though. For this technique to be successful, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind for it to be successful.

The guys over at gives a really in depth video tutorial on how to break in your holster through consistent stretching and manipulation:

With the second technique you use a plastic bag wrapped over the gun. You place the plastic bag wrapped gun in the holster and leave it in the holster overnight. The following morning you can test the fit of the gun on the holster. If it is still a bit too snug, draw the gun several times to stretch the holster a little bit.

You can also use wax paper with this method. If you use wax paper, make sure the wax is out toward the holster, not toward the gun.

The guys from Galco Gunleather shows you how to use the bag technique in the video below:

Key considerations
The two techniques described above are reasonably straight-forward and not too complicated. There are however some points that you need to keep in mind to make sure you are successful in breaking in your leather holster.

  • Make sure your holster is made for your specific model of firearm.
  • Work and manipulate the leather – it does take time, so be patient.
  • Do not use mink oil or needs foot oil on your holster – it makes it too supple.
  • You can use mild soap and water to clean your holster.
  • Keep your holster moisturised.

Wrapping up
Breaking in a leather holster can take some time and patience, but is definitely worth it. Be careful not to use oils or lubricants that will make your holster too soft and lose its grip, and be sure to use the right gun for which the holster was designed to fit.

We hope you found this useful! Happy shooting!

This article was contributed by SmokingBarrelUSA – Holsters


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